See, I generally don’t do that.
I don’t believe we’re better off being negative about much of anything, let alone everything. That said, once again we’re here, a day after an election where we are forced to lick our wounds because we progressives keep doing the same things that have been losing us elections for almost 40 years, while a certain strain of us is apparently waiting for the system to “work,” which is nothing short of ridiculous. Political systems don’t spontaneously change; you have to actually change them. And the only way to change them is by encouraging participation by more people; there’s a reason it’s called a democratic republic.
Let’s start with something that is just plain basically true…
Whoever your favorite politician is, they will never be able to do 99 percent of what they claim they want to do. Hillary wants to expand Medicare and shore up the Affordable Care Act and she wants to take guns out of the hands of bad people. Bernie wants to stop “Wall Street” dead in its tracks and restore the Middle Class. Elizabeth Warren wants the system to stop favoring big banks and start favoring consumers, who are the real job creators. And most of the Democratic Party wants to raise the minimum wage and give poor people a leg up.
Unfortunately, if progressive politics holds to the tradition we’ve set up for ourselves, none of that is even possible. I mean, listen to the rhetoric coming from the left; “progressive” Hillary people trashing Bernie, pretty much all Bernie people trashing Hillary, and pretty much everyone on the left everyone agreeing that the Democrats can take back the Senate, but the House is a lost cause. What the FUCK is that about, people? Seven years ago, Democrats held a huge majority; they were even 1-2 votes away from a supermajority in the Senate, which would have allowed them to change filibuster rules back, so that bills could pass with 51 votes again.
But in 2010 (note; that was BEFORE the census was complete, so it was NOT due to “gerrymandering,” so shut up!), a certain strain of “progressives” went out on an all-out assault on Democrats. I think we remember the result, right? Once again, Republicans didn’t kick Democrats’ asses; they register roughly the same number of votes every election; it rarely varies much; what varies is how many voters OUR SIDE can get to show up. And lemme tell you, we suck at it.
There is one thing I can predict with absolute certainty; Republican supporters will show up at the polls next year in huge numbers and, even though they represent less than a quarter of all voters, when they turn out at 85-95 percent (which is normal), they are a force. The challenge is to meet that force with something resembling a rational response, and bashing Democrats and portraying Democrats as losers is in no way rational. In fact, it’s purely irrational, almost as irrational and stupid as touting a Democrat’s “voting record” as a qualification, when they’ve been in a functional minority since about 1981.
Yes, you read that right; if you are comparing Hillary’s and Bernie’s voting records right now, you’re not “politically savvy,” you’re an idiot. It’s also funny, since many of these same people ignored the fact that the Democratic House, led by Nancy Pelosi, passed 375 bills between 2009-2010 that were blocked from becoming law by as little as one Senator, so they could recite, as a mantra, “Democrats have been a disappointment.” Why would any rational human being think that such a statement made political sense, when it was actually the Republican minority who was stopping great laws from being passed?
We don’t lose because Democrats suck at politics, because they don’t. We lose because a certain strain of “progressives” forms a circular firing squad every election and trashes Democrats to the point that a lot of voters who would actually like to cast a ballot decides to stay home because, while they know they don’t want to vote for a Republican, people who should know better – far left “progressives,” are screaming at them and telling them Democrats are just as bad. If they know Republicans suck and they’re told that Democrats are just as bad, who would you expect them to vote for? Why would you be surprised when they stay home.
Yeah, all you “progressives” who continue to crow that you’ve purged Democrats of Blue Dogs? You have no clue the damage you caused. Pretty much every Tea Party or “Freedom Caucus” member of Congress replaced a Blue Dog that you helped defeat. If you expect us to thank you, sorry, but that is the least progressive thing you could do. Purging a party that hasn’t held control of the government for nearly 40 years is about the stupidest thing anyone could possibly do, politically speaking, and you want thanks? “Thank you” doesn’t cover it. I’m thinking of a word to replace “thank,” can you guess what it is?
I bet you can…
Our far left strain is killing the politics and helping entrench the Republican Party in state legislatures and Congress. There is no single politician who can transform a government. Not a single one. If that’s not apparent to you by now, consider the fact that we’ve had the most transformative figure imaginable in the White House for almost seven years, and while he’s done a lot, he hasn’t been able to do nearly enough because, almost as soon as he started, this same strain of “progressives” labeled him a “disappointment” because he wasn’t able to completely transform the Bush Clusterfuck in two short years. They started to trash him and Democrats in general even before he took the oath of office, and they handed the government over to Republicans in a fit of hissy that belies their claimed political acumen. I mean, one would think a bunch of “pundits” who claim to know everything about politics and treat their opinions as fact could grasp facts just a little better. For example, Tim Geithner did NOT destroy the economy, Democrats DID pass the ACA, which started to reform the health care system and they DID pass Dodd-Frank, which started to restore the financial system, but they had to pass through reconciliation, which isn’t good enough.
It’s time for ALL progressives to align with the Democratic Party again. I don’t give a shit if you think they’re “progressive enough,” they’re the most progressive we can hope for right now, especially after 36 years of too much Republican influence.
Hell; we managed to do it before, for almost a half century and we not only laid the groundwork for civil rights for everyone, but we became an economic beacon. Our middle class thrived and the “American Dream” was born. Strangely enough, we did all of that with a faction called “Dixiecrats,” who were much farther right wing than anything in the current Democratic Party, and yet, to hear far left “progressives” tell it, we can’t win because there are Democrats who are a bit right of center? Really?
If we are ever going to become a progressive country, this strain of “progressives” has to shed their insistence that everything in the Democratic Party be absolutely perfect. That means we need to establish a permanent Democratic majority. Oh, and one more thing; to those far left “progressives” who imagine they’re the Democratic Party’s “base,” think again. In order to be a “base,” the Party has to be able to rely on your vote most of the time. White far left “progressives” gave up that status a long time ago, when they started going off on their own beginning in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Black people, Latinos and most women are the Democratic base because they earned the status. Demanding that Democrats “earn your vote” by doing everything you want them to do makes you the opposite of a “base.”
If you want to also establish a progressive “third party,” that’s great, but you have to realize that it has to be built from the ground up and will take at least a decade or two. In the meantime, we have a model for how progressives can make this country great again, and we need to use it. It requires creating a majority that is at least willing to work to improve things for those on the bottom of the pile. Republicans have proven they are not that party, and there is only one other choice.
ALL Democrats are better than ALL Republicans. That’s just a fact. And it’s time we made that clear to every voter who isn’t a right-wing Republican whacko and make them WANT to show up and vote for the best candidate, which is always a Democrat these days. Get a clue and actually BE progressive, for a change.